Rocky Mount had its beginning in the early part of the 19th century. It centered around the first post office which was established at the Falls of the Tar River on March 22, 1816. It was at that point that the name Rocky Mount appeared in documented history. The name undoubtedly derived from the rocky mound at the falls of the Tar River, which was also the site of one of the first cotton mills in North Carolina: Rocky Mount Mills was established in 1818. The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was built about 2 miles east of the mill in 1845 and became the main connection for Rocky Mount to the outside world. Rocky Mount has a growing arts community. The city operates an Arts Center, a Children's Museum & Science Center, and a Community Theater at the Imperial Centre for Arts & Sciences. Rocky Mount is an All-America City Award-winning city in Edgecombe and Nash counties in the coastal plains of the state of North Carolina. Although it was not formally incorporated until February 28, 1867, the North Carolina community that became the city of Rocky Mount dates from the beginning of the 19th century, and the first post office in the area opened in 1816. In 1996, the town of Battleboro merged with the city of Rocky Mount. Rocky Mount is the principal city of the Rocky Mount, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of both Edgecombe and Nash counties. Rocky Mount is also a part of a Combined Statistical Area which encompasses both Rocky Mount and Wilson Metropolitan Areas. The city is about 45 minutes away from the state capital, Raleigh.